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Japanese mobile carrier Softbank, which made headlines over a $20 billion takeover of US-based Sprint Nextel, is offering employees an incentive to master English – one million yen.
The firm said on Friday it is giving the cash reward, worth about $11,200, to workers who get top marks in an English-proficiency test for non-native speakers, known as TOEIC, or Test of English for International Communications.
A mark above 900 – on a scale from 10 to 990 – will make the grade, Softbank said, adding the offer applied to about 17,000 employees.
Those who score 800 or higher will get 300,000 yen, it said.
The company said it has been training employees to give presentations in English, but figured cold hard cash would be an extra incentive.
Japanese wireless service provider Softbank Corp is looking to buy roughly 70 percent of Sprint Nextel Corp in a bold move that would make it a major player in the U.S. mobile market.
But Softbank’s ambitions may not stop with Sprint, which might also be looking to buy out its partner, Clearwire Corp. The Japanese company might also be aiming to use Sprint as a vehicle to make a run at smaller Sprint peer MetroPCS Communications Inc, a two-step transaction that would potentially cost more than 2 trillion yen ($25.55 billion), according to a Nikkei report.
That would make it the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese company ever and vault Softbank into the upper echelons of wireless carriers worldwide.
Softbank, the cellphone service provider that brought Apple’s iPhone to Japan, said on Monday that it would buy a smaller rival, eAccess, for about $2.3 billion in stock, in the face of intensifying competition.
Under the terms of the deal, Softbank will pay 52,000 yen a share, more than three times the eAccess closing price of 15,070 yen on Friday.
The large premium reflects Softbank’s desire to bolster its mobile broadband capacity as it looks to attract more smartphone users. After the deal, Softbank would have more than 39 million subscribers, making it the second-biggest network operator in Japan, behind NTT DoCoMo.
Yahoo Inc is in advanced talks to exit its joint venture in Japan with SoftBank Corp, a move that could lead it to focus on reaching a decision on its China assets.
A deal to transfer Yahoos 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan to telecommunications company and investor SoftBank could come within a few weeks, people with knowledge of the discussions said. The public value of the stake is just under $7.5 billion.A straightforward sale is unlikely for tax reasons and the parties are exploring other structures, these people said. A deal has not yet been reached and could yet fall apart.
When asked for comment, a SoftBank spokesman said there was "no truth" to claims that Yahoo was planning to sell its stake back to SoftBank, but declined to comment on discussions.Shares of Yahoo Japan rose 8 percent and Softbank shares fell as much as 4 percent on the Tokyo stock exchange after the Reuters report.
Despite assumptions that the iPhone would struggle to achieve a foothold in Japan, a country on the cutting edge of mobile technology, the iPhone has taken the land of the rising sun by storm. In 2009 the iPhone accounted for 72.2% of the smartphone market in Japan, and 4.9% of the entire cell phone market in the country.
One year later, Tokyo-based research firm MMRI is reporting that the iPhone remains as popular as ever in Japan, accounting for 60.1% of all smartphones sold from April through September 2010. In the broader cell phone market, the iPhone accounts for an impressive 7% of the Japanese phone market. The scary thing is that these figures merely underscore how much room there is for growth.
Quentin Tarantino stars in the new softbank commercial promoting its all new and shiny never heard of it before speaker phone tech. And softabank(sorry had to add the a the second time) commercials, if not weird before well boy are they not just getting weirder and weirder?
Quentin gets a “come home” call from the wifey, which is broadcast over Otousan-speaker. Cause that is what its for, right?
The family calls him Tara-chan???
Tara-chan(remember Quentin?) does crazy-assed kill-bill-esque minus the blood splurtting kung-fu moves in total denial, which falls on the deaf ears of Otousan(wife in Japanese btw), who is not impressed.
And now you know I totally want that Otousan speaker attachment thing. In fact if I can get it too sound like that talking dog, I’ll make sure I put everyone on speaker.